It’s smokescreen season in the NFL, and there is much speculation as to what Arizona Cardinals will do with the first overall pick. After taking Quarterback Josh Rosen with their first round pick in 2018, they have since been linked heavily to Kyler Murray. This would leave Rosen out in the cold, and likely on the trade block. Here’s what the trade market for Rosen looks like.
Desperate for a QB: Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins are in a strange place regarding their QB situation. They traded away incumbent Ryan Tannehill, and have since signed Ryan Fitzpatrick. For years now, they have picked in the middle of the first round, and have rarely been in a position to take a top QB.
The same is true this year, as they have the 13th overall pick. The top QBs in this draft (Murray and Dwayne Haskins) are likely to be gone, and it might be a bit early for anyone else. Using their first round pick on Rosen could be a worthy investment, as they would have him for another 4 seasons with his rookie contract. Building around Rosen would be a solid long-term plan.
There are a few reasons why this may not happen, however. Since Miami isn’t likely to be competing for the playoffs this year, they could be intending to tank and land a high draft pick next year. This would put them in the running for one of next year’s top QBs, such as Tua Tagovailoa or Jake Fromm. Alternatively, they have plenty of needs on both sides of the ball, and trading down this year could allow them to add extra pieces.
Ends of Eras
There are several teams who have franchise QBs nearing retirement. While some of these teams would prefer to go all out trying to win a Super Bowl now, others are just as likely to see Rosen as a good opportunity to extend their windows. Amongst these teams are the New York Giants, New England Patriots, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints, and Pittsburgh Steelers.
"There are 3 teams that I have heard and I know are very interested in Josh Rosen: New England, the New York Giants, and the LA Chargers. One of those have already offered a 2nd-round pick. … Arizona is waiting for a 1st — I don't think they'll get it." — @joelklatt pic.twitter.com/nVC17lGsyJ— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) March 27, 2019
Of these teams, the Steelers and Saints are the least likely to make a move for Rosen. The Steelers drafted Mason Rudolph in 2018, and if they don’t see him as their next franchise QB, Rosen probably doesn’t offer much more for them. The Saints have Teddy Bridgewater as their QB2 currently, and are likely to start fresh when Brees retires. Trading for Rosen would be a waste of resources for the immediate future.
Both the Patriots and Chargers are quietly lurking and are likely to have the trade value the Cardinals will demand. The Patriots have the last pick in the first round, which is virtually a second-rounder. With QB Tom Brady inching closer to retirement, the Patriots are unlikely to wait too long to find his eventual replacement. Since they are unlikely to have a high pick anytime soon, this is a rare opportunity to acquire a top young QB.
Similarly, the Chargers are also building a team ready to win now, but without mortgaging their future. QB Philip Rivers is still playing at a high level, but is 37 years old. Also with a late pick in the first round (28th), they wouldn’t be paying a king’s ransom if they gave up this pick.
However, the Giants are the strongest candidate among this group. They also have the trade capital that will allow them to outbid competitors. There’s also no rush for them to make a move until draft day.
With two first rounders thanks to the Odell Beckham Jr trade, the Giants have flexibility in how they approach the situation. They could potentially package their deals and move up in the draft, allowing them to take Murray or Haskins. If they trade with Arizona for the first overall pick, Rosen stays put and the Cardinals start building around him.
On the other hand, the Giants can be patient and see how the draft plays out. If Haskins (or another QB) is sitting there at 6th overall when the Giants first make a selection, they could pull the trigger. Or, they could wait until the 17th pick and make a decision then. If they miss out on the QB sweepstakes early in the draft, the 17th pick could land them Rosen still.
If the Cardinals do decide to trade Josh Rosen, I think many teams would be wise to trade for him. Still think he can be a good QB.— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) March 25, 2019
Really liked him as a prospect. pic.twitter.com/kT7tOkjOtH
The biggest factors that this trade hinges upon are current QB Eli Manning and what the Cardinals want to do. If placating Eli Manning is a bigger priority, bringing in a young QB could upset the balance in the locker room. Likewise, if the Cardinals aren’t drafting Murray and/or are keeping Rosen, the Giants could be in the same boat as Miami in the 2020 draft, targeting a QB then instead.
The Wild Card: Oakland Raiders
Similar to the Giants, the Raiders also have a few first round draft picks. One of them could be used to get Rosen, but there has been talk of them packaging a deal to move to first overall and taking Murray. There’s every chance the Raiders are involved in a trade with the Cardinals, one way or another.
Of course, then there’s the question of what do they do with current QB, Derek Carr? Well, either Miami or Giants could come calling. A three-way trade could perhaps happen here. Oakland manages to dump Carr for a pick that is then sent to Arizona, with one of their own, for Murray.
The Long Shot: San Francisco 49ers
There is little chance the 49ers trade for Rosen. But there is still a chance. Not only are the 49ers a divisional rival, but they have an established QB in Jimmy Garoppolo.
However, Garoppolo has been injured in each of his two seasons, and after 2019, the 49ers have an easy out. Garoppolo has a low cap hit in 2020, and the 49ers might have run out of patience. It may take a bit more to pry him away from the Cardinals, who would hate to see him torch them in years to come, but it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.
The Dark Horses
There are also a few teams who could sneak in and take Rosen off the Cardinals’ hands. All have an established QB, but none have had a high level of success with said QB. These teams are the Detroit Lions, Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Detroit and Tennessee are both in year 2 of new regimes, and are working on changing other areas of the team, where draft picks are handy. Detroit’s QB Matthew Stafford is signed until 2021 and carries a heavy cap hit until then. Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota has just one year left on his contract, and Rosen could be his replacement if the team isn’t satisfied.
The Buccaneers and Bengals, though, are in a different situation. Both have new Head Coaches, and each has a QB that is off contract in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Rosen would represent a potential upgrade for each team, while also being a suitable fit for both of the new HCs.
Larry Fitzgerald on Josh Rosen: "It's unfair to really judge him based on what you saw last year." pic.twitter.com/LLdnvZgAdX— Shane Dale (@ShaneDaleABC15) March 26, 2019
Ultimately, it all comes down to what Arizona decide. If they are drafting Kyler Murray, then they can gain more talent by trading away Josh Rosen. With a range of potential suitors, they have all the leverage. Until they are on the clock, at least.